Monday, August 28, 2006

Twice Bitten

On previous cutback weeks, I didn’t really notice the fact that the mileage was lower. The long run was shorter, but apart from that they always felt like normal weeks. Well, last week was different, I certainly noticed the drop in mileage from 68 to 55, and my legs immediately snapped back into action. I probably shouldn’t have increased my pace, but I never felt like running faster, the effort was the same as for the equivalent (but slower) runs in higher mileage weeks.

Anyway, I intended to finish the week with 6 easy recovery miles on Sunday. For the first 2.5 miles, it was a perfectly unremarkable recovery run like I’ve had countless ones before. Then, as I was passing one particular house, 4 dogs shot out, all of them barking viciously, and obviously in aggressive mood. I did what I always do when dogs come out barking, I run at the far side of the road in the hope that they realise that I’m not aiming towards their territory. That almost always works – not for those, though. They did go for me, and one gave me a very nasty bite – I didn’t even manage to kick it in revenge, but eventually I managed to get past them. Up to then my heart rate had been well under 140, but from then on, and for the rest of the run it was between 155 and 160; I was far too worked up to relax. My route also led me past the same house again on the way back (there was no real alternative, unless I wanted to run 9 miles instead of 6), and I picked up a stone in the hope I could throw it at one of them, just in case, but that seemed pathetic even as I picked it up. Luckily, the owner must have noticed something and locked them inside, because when I passed their house again there was no sign of them.

When I told Niamh about this afterwards, she told me that a friend of her who lives close to that spot, has a neighbour with a pack of vicious dogs, and the situation is so bad that nobody can walk past the house without being in real danger of being attacked. It seems rather obvious that these are the same dogs I had my encounter with, especially as this was already the second time I got bitten by one of them. I might contact the police about it, but I haven’t managed to talk to Niamh’s friend yet.

This week has different challenges, mostly related to Pfitz’s seemingly insane schedule. I had a sneak peak at the rest of the training, and this really seems to be the most intense week of them all. It started with a 12-mile run, 7 miles of which at threshold pace. I know I have been whinging about the long distance of the threshold sections before, even if it was only for 5 or 6 miles. This time, 7 miles felt definitely manageable, and I was zooming along at previously unknown speed. I very nearly managed 7:00 pace, and that on a fairly hilly course. This must be the effect of the cutback week, and especially the two preceding easy days. I just hope that it didn’t take too much out of my legs, and that they will bounce back into action before Friday. I will need them then.

My injury to the calf/achilles seems to have gone away. There was still some pain in the left hamstring, especially when I was running hard downhill, but I’m confident that will go away, too.

Weekly mileage: 55 miles

27 Aug: 6 miles, 53:15, 8:52 pace
28 Aug: 12 miles, 1:38:08, 7:35 pace, with 7 miles at 7:02 pace


Late update: I've uploaded two (crappy) photos of my bite mark.


  1. were bitten? It's definitely time to take action. Talk to the owner, then the police if necessary. What if you were a kid? That bite on your leg would be on your stomach instead.

    Dog bites are one of my biggest fears when running. I have almost zero tolerance of any approaching dogs. That's just my 2 cents American (whatever that exchanges to in Ireland...)

  2. it's "tuppence worth" donald. and my tuppence worth is much of the same - god damn - what kind of psycho, irresponsible dog owners are they? time to call the police for sure. and take a picture of that bite mark. wow, your story has made me really mad on your behalf.

    awesome running btw!

  3. Ditto what donald said in all respects. It only take a kid or older person to walk by at the wrong time to end up in disaster.

  4. It sounds like those dogs are way out of control! I'm surprised its taken this long before somebody has contacted the police.

    BTW. Thanks for your advice about the 10 mile road race.

  5. Unbelievable. I hope you're able to get through to the owners that this is not acceptable. What are these dog owners thinking??

  6. Sheesh Thomas! That's scary. I think it's time to call it in too.

  7. Hi Thomas, as you can see I'm back blogging, even if my marathon preparations aren't.

    As others say, this is a must to report to the Garda. Like most runners, I have always been wary of dogs, and whilst never actually having flesh torn like you, I was leapt at once by a Boxer (the canine type) and he grabbed my shorts, ripping them. The worst of this was that it was on a lead. The owners reaction was that I was provoking the dog by running!

    Apart from that, your running seems to be going great, and fingers crossed you will have a great Dublin. Look forward to meeting you there, although somehow I think you will be finished well before I hit UCD.

  8. PS - It's Two Cents worth over here as well these days (That pesky Euro).

  9. Ouch! I hope you've had a recent tetnus (sp?) shot! I agree with Donald and others - do something about those dogs before they really hurt someone. That's scary! I can't believe you went back by the same house on your way back! I would've been searching for alternatives.

  10. Nice work on the 12 miler and yes call on those dogs. I always have that fear of my children being attacked by dogs, among other predators, which is why I do not let them roam around, the children that is, on their own.